12. National Security Study Memorandum 831


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • U.S. Approach to Current Issues of European Security

In connection with developments in the field of European security, the President wishes to have a meeting of the National Security Council early in the New Year. At that time he wishes to consider the status of our own and NATO actions on this subject and the range of options open to us in the light of East-West diplomatic exchanges and of pertinent strategic issues. As a result of the identification and discussion of the major issues involved, the President will provide guidance for further U.S. actions.

A paper providing the basis for this NSC meeting should be prepared by the Interdepartmental Group for Europe and should be submitted for consideration by the NSC Review Group by January 15, 1970.2

[Page 31]

In the interim, the President’s approach to the proposal for a European Security Conference remains as stated in the directive of April 9, 1969.3 Pending the NSC meeting, the President wishes to have specific U.S. negotiating proposals in this area held in abeyance.4

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–166, NSSM 83, 3 of 4. Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence. Sonnenfeldt, who drafted the NSSM, wrote in the covering memorandum to Haig: “At Henry’s request, I have redone the memorandum to Secretary Rogers on European Security issues as a NSSM.” Sonnenfeldt noted Kissinger was “very anxious to have this go out today.” Haig wrote in the margin, “So am I!!” At the bottom of the covering memorandum, Kissinger wrote, “Send out signed NSSM.”
  2. The response to National Security Study Memorandum 83, January 26, 1970, is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XLI, Western Europe; NATO, 1969–1972.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 3.
  4. In a November 25 memorandum, Sonnenfeldt wrote to Kissinger: “NSSM 83 notwithstanding, Ambassador Ellsworth has now been furnished a ‘Declaration on European Security’ by the Department of State (Tab A), which, inter alia, commits us to establishing criteria for mutual force reductions, the preparation of a model (it used to be ‘models’) for such reductions, and willingness to begin explorations at an early date with the Eastern countries. State has not so far sent the basic papers relating to the NATO Ministerial Meeting for which the Secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury are departing early next week.” Tab A to Sonnenfeldt’s memorandum was telegram 196793 to USNATO, November 23. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 667, Country Files, Europe, Europe General)